Sexual Intelligence
An Electronic Newsletter

Written and published by Marty Klein, Ph.D.

Issue #56 -- October 2004


1. Swaggart Says He'll Kill Gays
2. Phoenix: Perverts Setting Library Policy
3. Parenting: Hazardous to Your Freedom
4. Military Bans Prostitution
5. Feds Search For Marital Bliss
6. Spain: Catholic and Democratic
7. Take Me Home--With My New CDs


1. Swaggart Says He'll Kill Gays

"I've never seen a man in my life I wanted to marry," said evangelist Jimmy Swaggart on TV recently. "And if one ever looks at me like that, I'm gonna kill him and tell God he died."

A Canadian television station has publicly apologized for broadcasting the threat. Aired throughout the U.S., the program contained a rambling sermon by Swaggart, who has millions of followers. Turning to the subject of gay marriage, he referred to "this utter absolute, asinine, idiotic stupidity of men marrying men," and concluded with his violent solution. The remarks were met with applause from his congregation in New Orleans, where voters recently amended the Louisiana constitution to bar same-sex marriage.

Swaggart's statements perpetuate the myth that gays proselytize, attempting to seduce others into their lifestyle and belief. They don't, of course, although that is how Swaggart makes his living. Swaggart says he's never seen a man he wanted to marry, which must be terribly disappointing to gays across the nation. As usual, Swaggart thinks everything is all about him; he needs to be reminded that when gays talk about the right to marry, they're talking about their desire for each other, not for him. In fact, he's forgotten that God will already know of his proposed homo-cides. In anticipation of God's response, Swaggart better start rehearsing "Am I my brother's keeper?"

The nice thing about Swaggart's announcement is that he has finally told the truth--he's frightened of homosexuality. It isn't really a religious issue for him after all--it's emotional. And like many frightened people, he wants to use public policy to reduce his personal fear--as did Hitler, J. Edgar Hoover, and Southern racists a few decades ago.

Note of admiration to our Canadian friends: While our policy-makers are restructuring American broadcasting to prevent another one-second peek-a-boob, our northern neighbors are challenging hatred and violence. Lovely contrast.


2. Phoenix: Perverts Setting Library Policy

Regular SI readers (#s 8, 28, 45, and others) know about the conflict raging in public libraries across America: what restrictions will be placed on the computers that the public uses?

Phoenix, Arizona is once again attempting to restrict residents' basic civic rights. In response to one story--a local man arrested for sexually exploiting a minor claims he viewed child porn at the library--the City Council voted to require additional filtering on all the library's public computers. Since adult patrons would not be allowed to request the filters be turned off, this new law runs afoul of the already-strict federal law.

The City Council's panic about a single case beautifully illustrates how policy-makers will even seize on the rantings of felons and psychopaths to justify restricting the basic rights of millions of decent citizens.

Another lesson is the way the Council and mass media describe the city's bullying. Here's how the battle was described in USA Today, and repeated in the Arizona Republic:

"...the City Council enacted a new policy that bars adults from unrestricted Internet access to
pornography on Phoenix library computers."

Additionally, the City's own website describes it thus:

"The City Council voted to create a policy that the Phoenix Public Library will not provide
Internet access to pornographic material."

This distortion is the ultimate outrage. The Council's policy is not "preventing access to pornography;" it's requiring filtering that will eliminate a significant percentage of the web from adult eyes. While the intention may be to prevent access to "pornography," it will also prevent access to information about health care, politicians’ voting records, history, international diplomacy, art and literary criticism, and much more.

The City is disingenuous, and the media irresponsible, in describing this conflict as being about pornography. Most people will say "who could object to restricting porn at the library?" And people who do object to the policy will think twice before being identified as "pro porn." Just what a politician wants to hear: "and my opponent doesn't care about the safety of your kids--he's in favor of perverts watching unlimited kiddie porn in our own library."

The City Council trotted out the tired old justification that trained librarians already sort through and choose which books to stock, and that internet filtering is the same thing. No, no, no. The filtering software is developed by a private company, which refuses to reveal its criteria for excluding sites. Nor does the City have a policy on what material to exclude (Breast cancer awareness? Breast feeding in public? Breast enlargement?). Thus, there is no public accountability for what is now unavailable to the public. Part of the public library is now controlled by a private corporation.

SI keeps discussing cases like these because public library computers will continue being a key battleground in the war on everyone's rights. The Phoenix library's new policy is a solution looking for a problem.

Sadly, the issue isn't limited to Arizona, or to actual "pornography." Consider Carlos Hernandez, kicked out of Honolulu's state library for accessing Gay porn? No, just a travel information site.

Since we now live in the Information Age, many of the rights and privileges of citizenship now reside in our access to information. And with almost everything digitized, "information" is literally everywhere--which means that opportunities to interfere with our rights and lives are now everywhere.

Whether the target is kiddie porn, nude beaches, or Howard Stern, city council members, prosecutors, photo shop employees, and self-appointed morality police subscribe to a dangerous code of beliefs:

Do we need to come right out and say that this is a recipe for totalitarianism, that it's currently in effect in regimes around the world that we despise, and it's what we're supposedly trying to change in Iraq and Afghanistan?


3. Parenting: Hazardous to Your Freedom

Yet another parent has been busted, and dragged through hell, by an off-the-wall accusation of molestation and child porn--for a family photo of a 5-year-old mooning the camera.

The Nashville man's name hasn't been released, to protect his son's identity (the right thing for the wrong reason; don't get us started about why his son has more privacy rights than he does). While engaged in a nasty custody/visitation fight, Dad was snapping pics of Junior, who happened to drop trou and moon the camera as Dad was shooting. Dad, a bit nonplused, sent the photo to his ex-wife, wondering if she knew where Junior had developed this charming behavior, and letting her know what's what--as they'd always agreed to.

Mom then took the picture to the County prosecutor, who apparently went nuts. Although two different judges determined that Junior hadn't been abused, Mom and prosecutor persisted. When the case recently came before a jury, Dad's lawyer suggested he cop a plea. ''You never know what the jury is going to do,'' said attorney Richard Dumas, whose client was facing up to 24 years in prison for photographing his young son bending over bare-assed, balls aloft. This, despite the fact that the prosecutor never offered any evidence of abuse.

So Dad pled guilty to child neglect, for which he will serve two years of supervised probation. Heartbreakingly, he did so just as a jury was clearing him of all charges of sexually exploiting a minor--an exoneration that affects nothing, because the court had already accepted Dad's guilty plea.

A trial by jury, of course, is one of our fundamental rights. But these days, going before a jury under a cloud of sexual suspicion make Russian roulette seem tame. A jury's ability to destroy someone's life based on a single accusation of child molestation or kiddie porn now severely undermines the integrity of our justice system. Being arrested for a sexual offense almost guarantees that you'll be advised to cop a plea: admit to neglect, abandonment, battery, drunk & disorderly, temporary insanity, possession by the Devil, anything that doesn't say SEX.

The same conservative politicians who insist that parents should have the right to pick their kids' school and block their kids' emergency medical treatment deny parents that same status when the subject is sexuality.

Sadly, sensible people are learning that once they enter a child custody dispute, they must look at everything through the lens of possible abuse. Moms and particularly Dads have to parent defensively, avoiding the appearance of sexual impropriety to paranoid, panicked, or vengeful others. Teaching a kid about tampons, answering questions about blowjobs, tolerating masturbation, and being physically affectionate with a child are all dangerous now.

The overriding agenda of "avoiding any behavior that can be interpreted as molestation or pornographic" will have awful consequences all too soon: today's kids becoming tomorrow's touch-starved, ignorant, paranoid adults. And how will they raise their kids?

Those who believe that kids who are molested become molesting adults should be terribly concerned that kids traumatized by sex-negativity will grow up to become adults who traumatize kids with sex-negativity. What a terrible way to "protect" those we love.


4. Military Bans Prostitution

The Department of Defense has proposed adding an anti-prostitution charge to the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Soldiers convicted of purchasing sex would be punished by a year in jail and a dishonorable discharge. The ban would apply even in countries where prostitution is legal, such as Germany, where one of the world's largest red light districts is only minutes from America's Rhein Main Air Base.

The change is supposedly part of an ongoing effort by the Defense Department to combat "human trafficking." But this clearly isn't a problem in many places, including countries where many prostitutes are truly self-employed and brothels are licensed.

The government also says it's concerned about soldiers’ morality, and the strength of military marriages--a reason which resonates far more with the values of the current regime. Of course, it isn't clear how certain honest, capitalistic transactions can be singled out as immoral; and since 40% of American soldiers are single, a measure protecting their marriages is obviously irrelevant.

Nevertheless, just as very few politicians are willing to be seen as championing pornography (i.e., protecting free speech), virtually no one will stand up and defend soldiers' rights to see prostitutes (i.e., protection from imposition of government-defined "morality"). What next, a law that prohibits atheism in the military? Who would be willing to oppose that?

While buying sex will soon be illegal in the military, selling one's integrity will still be considered both legal and a good career move.


5. Feds Search For Marital Bliss

It's often hard to decide which government program is the worst use of your tax dollars. The latest candidate is the Healthy Marriage Resource Center, part of a federal program which has begun distributing millions of dollars to groups around the country.

The idea is that marriage is so valuable to individuals, children, and communities that the government should understand it and encourage it. And since half of these supposedly valuable marriages end in divorce, the government wants to learn how to prevent this. SI is totally in favor of collecting data on contemporary marriage.

Of course, the central issue is which "marriage" the government wants to understand and promote. What about marriages in which one person has most of the power--will the government promote those? What about spiritually or emotionally dead marriages, whose spouses believe that God requires them to stay together because of a promise they made when they were optimistic, ignorant, and 22?

According to Terry Gould's research, over 3,000,000 American marriages get involved in swing clubs. That's in addition to "open" or "polyamorous" marriages. According to frightened, angry groups like Focus on the Family, the number of sexually perverse couples is huge. Will the government make sure it samples these? Would it be willing to distribute the data showing that, statistically, consensually non-monogamous marriages are as stable as monogamous ones?

Will these government-funded programs teach couples about sex? Family planning? Establishing some independence from their in-laws? Will programs encourage cohabiting as a way for people to know each other before making a commitment? Will they discourage marriage to someone who's violent or actively alcoholic?

And if the blessings of marriage are so precious, how can the government withhold them from citizens who want to marry someone of the same gender? Now that gay couples across the country are adopting or raising children, don't these kids have the right to have parents who can marry?

The program's federal money will go to government agencies, universities--and, their announcement says, to "faith-based organizations." Ah, we get it--the program is yet another way for President Bush to funnel millions to his Religious Right constituency, just as he's doing with faith-based welfare and abstinence programs. Follow, as they say, the money.

The Department of Health & Human Services plans to create a website soon, which will distribute information, provide resources for educators, educate practitioners, and foster communication on sustaining healthy marriages. But the government has lost its credibility as an educator, by subordinating science to ideology: through web postings fraudulently linking abortion and breast cancer; by trying to discredit condoms as ineffective; and by lying about the effectiveness of abstinence-only sex education, to name just a few ways. There is no reason to believe in the truthfulness of what HHS will say about marriage.

Of course, a key cause of divorce is marriage--particularly ill-advised marriage. So here are some suggestions to reduce the amount of divorce:


6. Spain: Catholic and Democratic

Spain's Cabinet has proposed legislation giving gays the right to marry and adopt children. Parliament is expected to approve it promptly, making it the third European country to do so (following Holland and Belgium).

The Catholic Church opposed the measure loudly, but it "removes a centuries-old barrier," said Justice Minister Aguilar.

Spain: half Catholic for 1000 years, 90% Catholic for 500 years. Same-gender marriage about to be legalized. We can't let "the Church" be an excuse in America.


7. Take Me Home--With My New CDs

I'm delighted to announce the availability of my two new CD sets:

Each two-disc set contains two hours, edited from several of my seminars. As is true with all my stuff, these are practical, challenging--and funny. You don't have to be a therapist to enjoy them, although they have extra relevance for professionals. For more information on what they contain, click here.

Each new set costs $18.95. This month, buy either one and we'll pay the postage. Buy both and we'll pay the postage and take two bucks off the total price. To order, or to see my other books, CDs, and tapes, click here.


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